Alaska/Pacific Coast

Bering Sea pollock edges up; Gulf cod surges

Deckboss, December 23, 2014

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has set the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) for Alaska groundfish.

Here are the TACs for key species and the percent change from 2014.

Eastern Bering Sea pollock, 1,310,000 tons, up 3.4 percent
Pacific cod, 249,422 tons, down 1.8 percent
Yellowfin sole, 149,000 tons, down 19 percent
Atka mackerel, 54,500 tons, up 68.6 percent
Pacific Ocean perch, 32,021 tons, down 3.3 percent
Sablefish, 3,135 tons, down 0.5 percent

Pollock, 199,151 tons, up 13.8 percent
Pacific cod, 75,202 tons, up 16.2 percent
Pacific Ocean perch, 21,012 tons, up 8.8 percent
Sablefish, 10,522 tons, down 0.5 percent

The TACs are subject to U.S. commerce secretary approval.

Alaska population falls behind North Dakota to 48th

Alaska Dispatch News by Dermot Cole, December 23, 2014

FAIRBANKS — Alaska has fallen behind booming North Dakota in the list of most populous states, taking the 48th spot, while North Dakota moved up to 47th, according to estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the past year, Alaska’s population dropped by about 527, while North Dakota grew by about 16,000, making it the fastest growing state in the country on a percentage basis, the U.S. Census Bureau said. The bureau estimate put the North Dakota population at 739,482 in July, compared to 736,732 in Alaska, a difference of 2,750.

Alaska was one of six states to lose residents. The bureau estimates that there are 527 fewer people in Alaska this year than last.

Cook Inlet fish wars dominate headlines again in 2014

Alaska Journal of Commerce by Molly Dischner, December 23, 2014

24aA federal judge ordered National Marine Fisheries Service to update its assessment of the observer program to see if it loses data quality at low levels of coverage.

The Upper Cook Inlet fisheries were tense in 2014, with an emotional Board of Fisheries meeting in the winter and new restrictions in the summer.

Alaska’s Board of Fisheries met in Anchorage in late January and early February to discuss management plans for Upper Cook Inlet. By the end of the two-week meeting, the board for the first time approved changes that paired restrictions for sport and commercial fishermen.

The board considered 236 proposals at the meeting. Among the proposals that passed were those amending the Kenai River late-run king salmon management plan. The paired restrictions meant that this summer, Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s commercial fisheries managers had to take certain actions when the sport fishery was restricted.

Never mind the chill — Alaska’s winter feeder king salmon are yummy

Alaska Dispatch News, by Mike Campbell, December 23, 2014

24bRudy Tsukada fishes in the Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament from his kayak. Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament

Daylight is fleeting. Chilly air demands layer upon layer of insulation. Salt-water spray on a bare face can feel like death by a thousand cuts.

Is this the right time to go fishing?  For a handful of anglers with easy access to Kachemak or Resurrection bay, the answer is clear: You bet.

Federal regulators and Shell work closely on Arctic drilling plan, documents show

Alaska Dispatch News by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, December 23, 2014

WASHINGTON — Newly released documents suggest federal regulators are collaborating closely with Shell as the company pursues a new round of Arctic drilling next summer, even though an underlying sale of the region’s oil leases is still in legal limbo.

According to meeting records and correspondence that Greenpeace obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Shell met with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about its 2015 drilling aspirations at least three times in March and May, months before it formally submitted an exploration plan detailing its planned operations.



Young to take lead on Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers, December 23, 2014

Alaska’s fishing interests will still be well represented in Washington, D.C., despite a recent shuffling of the legislative deck after former Sen. Mark Begich lost his reelection bid and his chairmanship of a key Senate subcommittee.

Though Begich is gone, longtime Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young will take the lead for the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act in the 114th Congress and continue on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Begich was chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, and as one of his final acts introduced a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, the law governing federal fisheries.


Australia appears set to ban super trawlers permanently

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [ABC] – December 24, 2014 –

The Federal Government is planning to introduce a permanent ban of super trawlers from Australian waters.

Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck said the Federal Government would introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to ban factory freezer vessels more than 130 metres in length.

A temporary ban on super trawlers was introduced in late 2012 to block the controversial FV Margiris, the world’s second-largest trawler at the time.

That ban was set to expire in April 2015.

The Margiris, with its 300-metre long net, was capable of processing 250 tonnes of fish a day.

Seafish Tasmania had planned to use the 143-metre Dutch-owned vessel to net its 18,000 tonne quota of jack mackerel and red bait from an area stretching from Western Australia to Queensland, past Tasmania.

Supporters said the catch was sustainable and based on credible scientific research.

Opponents argued the super trawler would deprive bluefin tuna of their natural prey and drive them out, with flow-on impacts for fishers and tourism.

A petition with 30,000 signatures was delivered to Canberra ahead of the temporary ban.

Senator Colbeck said the Government accepted many people in the community had legitimate concerns about the operation of super trawlers.

He said the decision “brings into force the Prime Minister’s statement in March that super trawlers will remain banned”.

Focusing on boat length misses the point, says campaigner

Rebecca Hubbard from the Stop The Trawler campaign group said the new ban would do little to protect Australian fisheries, since many factory freezer trawlers were under 130 metres in length.

“That number is just not relevant; it’s just not going to be enough to protect our protected species and our fisheries from the impact of these really large industrial trawlers,” she said.

Ms Hubbard said the way in which a vessel can hunt and harvest fish was just as important, if not more important, than its length.

“It’s more about that capacity to stick with fisheries, with schools of fish, and to keep taking, and to keep also impacting on protected species like seals and dolphins as well,” she said.

Ms Hubbard said the terms of the ban needed to be more restrictive.


NOAA Fisheries Announces Dates and Locations for Installation of Electronic Monitoring Systems

Released by NOAA Fisheries, December 23, 2014

The December 2, 2014 final rule for Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (Amendment 7) requires that an owner or operator of a commercial vessel permitted or required to be permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Longline category and that has pelagic longline gear on board that vessel have installed by the NMFS-approved contractor, operate, and maintain an electronic monitoring (EM) system on the vessel. The requirement that such vessels must have an EM system installed and collect video data in order to fish will be in effect as of June 1, 2015, and therefore NMFS is scheduling dates and locations between January 1, 2015 and June 1, 2015, for installation of and training on the operation of EM equipment.

NMFS has identified funds to pay for the equipment and its installation for all of the currently eligible vessels (the 135 vessels with Atlantic Tunas Longline permits that are eligible to receive Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) shares pursuant to Amendment 7) prior to June 1, 2015.  The vessels were identified in certified letters NMFS sent on December 4, 2014.  This will ease the regulated community’s burden associated with the new monitoring requirements.   Funding for future equipment and installations, and installations of EM on vessels other than the 135 initially identified vessels is uncertain, as is installation after June 1, 2015, even for eligible vessels.


CORRECTION TO U of W’s 2015 Bevan Series Schedule Listed in Yesterday’s Update

Rupert Howes is speaking on February 26th, not March 5th as listed on the website.  John Garner is speaking on March 5th.

Track Santa live right here at Hauling Gear


Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association

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December 24, 2014